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Know your blood pressure

1 Mar 2014 4:30 PM - and tips for reducing hypertension

High blood pressure, or hypertension, as it is known medically, affects many people, especially as we age.

Blood pressure refers to the pressure your blood exerts on your arteries (a bit like water through a hose).  You get two numbers in your blood pressure reading.  The first refers to the pressure when your heart is pumping and the second is the pressure when your heart is between pumps i.e. relaxed.

Often your blood pressure can be elevated without any telltale symptoms and unless you get it checked periodically high blood pressure can go undetected for many years.  The problem with this is that high blood pressure increases your risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure or kidney disease; all potentially nasty problems which would be good to avoid if we can.

High blood pressure is considered to be, to a significant extent, a disease of lifestyle

Lifestyle factors which increase your risk of high blood pressure are:

  • being above your healthy weight

  • being sedentary or not getting much exercise

  • stress, especially if poorly managed

  • an unhealthy diet

  • smoking

  • drinking too much alcohol. 

The good news is these are all lifestyle factors that you can address (with help if necessary).

Simple measures you can implement to reduce your blood pressure include:

  • increase the amount of fruit and vegetables in your diet and decrease foods high in saturated fat

  • increase the amount of physical activity; this can be hard for some people but I think any increase is a step in the right direction (gentle yoga classes can be a great place to start).

  • limit your alcohol intake

  • incorporate some relaxation activity into your life or develop some stress management techniques (again, yoga can be great for this)

  • work towards losing a little bit of weight (which you will probably happen naturally by adopting the above points)

  • quit smoking

Sometimes you know that you should do these things but it is difficult to get going and there are can be many hurdles to overcome.  This is where I can help.

I can working with you to identify priorities and come up with sustainable lifestyle changes and dietary suggestions. I can also prescribe supplements which can help with stress, weight loss, sugar cravings etc as well as herbs and nutrients that work directly on reducing blood pressure.

Given the risks associated with high blood pressure, it's a great idea to know your blood pressure and have it checked periodically.  That way you can track whether it is sneaking up over time and nip it in the bud.  I can do this as part of your consultation and health review.

If you are struggling with your blood pressure, rest assured, help is at hand.  Feel free to call me for an appointment or just to discuss your concerns on 03 9620 9503. 

In good health,

Kaye Wright
Melbourne CBD

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